Filipinos in shock over Pacquiao’s loss
MANILA SHOCKED Filipinos claimed “highway robbery” on Sunday after boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao was stunned by American challenger Timothy Bradley, losing his first bout in seven years.
From the chaotic slums to the swanky sports bars of Manila, Filipinos looked on in horror as Bradley ended Pacquiao’s 15-fight winning streak and seized his World Boxing Organisation welterweight title.
Judge Jerry Roth scored the bout 115-113 for Pacquiao, while C.J. Ross and Duane Ford both saw it 115-113 for Bradley, even though it appeared Pacquiao hurt Bradley throughout the fight — particularly with his straight left.
Pacquiao fell to 54-4-2 with 38 wins inside the distance, suffering his first defeat since he dropped a 12- round unanimous decision to Erik Morales in March 2005.
“This is clearly highway robbery,” senator Jose Estrada, who was at ringside in Las Vegas, told local radio in Manila by phone.
“Pacquiao clearly had more hits.” For 37-year-old labourer Raphael Raboy, the loss meant losing a few hundred pesos on a bet, though he shared Estrada’s sentiments.
“He is still our champion,” Raboy told AFP, as he and his friends quietly left a park in suburban Marikina district east of Manila where a live telecast of the fight was beamed on satellite television for free.
The crowd was shocked into silence, before erupting into boos and flashing the thumbs down to show their displeasure.
President Benigno Aquino sought to console the public, stressing that Pacquiao remained a treasured sporting icon despite the loss.
“Manny Pacquiao failed to defend the WBO welterweight belt against Timothy Bradley, but the Filipino people’s support for their champion remains strong as ever,” Aquino spokeswoman Abigail Valte said in a statement.
“Manny is still our one and only people’s champ; and we are proud of him.” Left-hander Pacquiao is considered a national treasure in his native Philippines, where he has translated his sports fame into huge riches, a movie career and election to parliament.
He is also a reservist army colonel and a self-proclaimed Bible ambassador after saying early this year God had visited him in his dreams and told him to follow a righteous path.
Sunday’s bout was the first time that wife Jinkee and his children were at ringside to cheer him on.